Haiti First Impressions

From the air Haiti is a beautiful, mountainous, lush, green country. Arriving in the hot bustling humid capital Port-au-Prince, the beauty is harder to find. Whilst there is a lot of reconstruction work going on with new builds appearing on every corner, there remains stark evidence of the destruction suffered after the earthquake. The palace is semi-demolished, and rubble is all that remains of the Ministry of Finance and other government buildings. There are over 800 camps still in the capital, home to an estimated 400,000 people.

Arriving at the airport a wall of hot air hits you as you step out of the plane, filled with smells of burning charcoal, dust, and exhaust fumes. The chaos of the airport gives way to further chaos on the roads as motorcycles weave in and out of the traffic at high speeds and in unpredictable directions.

Haiti has suffered trauma after trauma, with a violent political history, annual hurricanes causing flooding and landslides, the devastation of the 2010 earthquake and the added trauma of the deaths as a result of the cholera outbreak. Yet the Haitians, like their climate, are a warm people, they have learnt to cope and carry on with life despite the difficulties they face, and remain a passionate and lively nation with a great sense of humour. I look forward to all that I will learn from them during my time here.

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